When I picked up this book at the library, I wasn’t sure what to expect, if I’m honest. I had seen good reviews, and I liked the cover (yes, we ALL judge books by their covers, you know it’s true) – and you never know whether that’s going to be a good risk or a bad risk do you?
This was the very BEST of all book risks.
I loved this book. I did not want to put it down – I even cooked a white sauce with one hand whilst reading this with the other.
It’s written by Death, about a 9yr old German girl and her foster family during WWII.
Well… actually, it’s a stunningly beautiful, stabbingly emotional, hauntingly uplifting read.
It’s a book with such depth to it – Death is a narrator of such fine craftsmanship I can’t tell you how often I have re-read some passages, just to enjoy his words. Cold, clear, precise – and yet containing boundless anger and horror and sadness. And unimaginable love and joy and fun. The surface story of Liesel and her books contains the deeper wider story that Death is telling.
The story is a simple one, of one misfit family of everyday Germans, in an ordinary street in Berlin, that could easily have been the East End of London; the characters are universally recognisable, alive and crisply in focus. And funny and warm and real.
Ultimately the book celebrates WORDS. Their power, the strength that can be taken from them, the times that can be shared through them, the memories and bonds that can be created by them.
It’s a book which stayed with me long after I (sadly, slowly) finished the last page, and one which I have returned to time and again – always finding something new within it.